The Comics Curmudgeon
|Type of site||Blog|
|Created by||Josh Fruhlinger|
|Launched||July 11, 2004|
|Alexa rank||167,702 (December 2013[update])|
The Comics Curmudgeon is a blog devoted to humorous and critical analysis of newspaper comics. Its author, Josh Fruhlinger, is a Buffalo, NY-native born and Baltimore-based freelance writer and editor who additionally blogs about editorial cartoons for Wonkette in a weekly feature called Cartoon Violence; he also contributes to a Wikipedia-themed humor blog called Citation Needed. It has drawn the attention of cartoonists and the news media for its commentary.
Each day, Fruhlinger selects 2 to 8 comics for occasional praise as well as snark on features such as bizarre artwork, nonsensical plots, and supposed sexual subtext / innuendo. Long running soap opera-style comic strips generally get the brunt of Fruhlinger's humor, such as perennial favorites Apartment 3-G, Mark Trail, and Mary Worth, a fixation which he attributes to them being "[the] perfect targets for the sort of metatextual detached irony that is our generation’s terrible contribution to Western civilization."
He also touches on long-running legacy cartoons like Family Circus and Garfield on occasion. Weekly metaposts update readers on notable events in Fruhlinger's life, such as his July 22, 2008, appearance on the game show Jeopardy!, offer critical commentary on the comic strip industry, and judge posters to the blog in a "Comment Of The Week" contest. The blog's original name was "Josh Reads the Comics so You Don't Have To", which is reflected in the site URL, joshreads.com.
The Comics Curmudgeon was among the blogs criticizing what they deemed was the declining quality of the Canadian family strip For Better or For Worse, and who were noted for "harsh attacks" on creator Lynn Johnston. Humorist John Hodgman, in a review of comic-strip reprint collections, said the website "regularly ridicules the creaky war horses like Hagar the Horrible and Mary Worth, the opaque woolgathering of Ziggy, the dull crypto-evangelism of B.C.." A blog contributor's a July 21, 2008 post broke the news that a recent Blondie strip had been recycled almost verbatim from one published in 1952. This was followed in March 2009 with a similar report of strip recycling in Family Circus.
Hägar the Horrible's cartoonist Chris Browne, Liō artist/writer Mark Tatulli, and Sally Forth scripter Francesco Marciuliano. have commented on the blog. Bob Weber Jr., artist for Slylock Fox, created merchandise for the Curmudgeon CafePress store with original art of the character Cassandra Cat (from the Fox strip).
On December 18, 2008, the comic strip Archie began occasionally referencing the blog's recurring "Archie Joke-Generating Laugh Unit 3000" joke. On August 12, 2009, the comic strip Pearls Before Swine broke the fourth wall and made reference to the Comics Curmudegon as part of a tirade against Pearls writer Stephan Pastis. On May 6, 2012, the comic strip Crock introduced a character named "Freerloiter" (an apparent parody of Fruhlinger's name) who lost all of his artistic talent after a lobotomy. However, Commander Crock "pulled the plug" on Freerloiter after he announced his intention to move to Baltimore and start a comics blog. Fruhlinger responded on his blog that he believed the joke would be incomprehensible to those outside the "fairly small slice of the comics-reading public who also reads my blog."
The Comics Curmudgeon was ranked 13th on PC Magazine's 100 Favorite Blogs list for 2007, and Elite Choice named it one of 2007's Top 125 Elite Blogs (judged on traffic generation, Alexa ranking and other measures of visibility). Josh Fruhlinger was named 2007's Blogger of the Year by The Week based on his analysis of editorial cartoons. It has also won the 2008 Weblog Award for Best Humor Blog.
- "Joshreads.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "'Jeopardy!' Appearance for Comics Curmudgeon Blogger". www.editorandpublisher.com. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-24. [DEAD LINK]
- "J! Archive - Show #5512, aired 2008-07-22". www.j-archive.com. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Fruhlinger, Josh (2008-07-21). "The Comics Curmudgeon » Blog Archive » Metapost: Dagwood trickery! (And COTW)". joshreads.com. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Friess, Steve (2007-09-09). "Cartoon creator hopes reinventing 'For Better' is for the best". usatoday.com. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- Hodgman, John (2005-12-04). "Comics Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- Fruhlinger, Josh (2008-07-21). "The Comics Curmudgeon » Blog Archive » Metapost: Dagwood trickery! (And COTW)". joshreads.com. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- "Blog Reveals That a Recent 'Blondie' Strip Is Nearly Identical to a 1952 One". Editor & Publisher. 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- "Metapost: More self-copying CsOTW!". www.joshreads.com. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
- Chris Brown of Hägar the Horrible responds to CC
- Fruhlinger, Josh (2007-03-25). "The Comics Curmudgeon » Blog Archive » Revelrous rivalry". joshreads.com. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Francesco Marciuliano of Sally Forth links to the CC in his blog, calling it "America's Finest Website"
- Fruhlinger reveals officially licensed Cassandra Cat (from the Slylock Fox cartoon) merchandise available at his CafePress store
- Fruhlinger, Josh (2008-12-18). "The Comics Curmudgeon » Blog Archive » AJGLU 3000: Rise of the machines". joshreads.com. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
- http://joshreads.com/?p=3759, retrieved on 2009-08-12
- Fruhlinger, Josh (2012-05-06). "Fight! Fight! Comics nerd fight!". joshreads.com. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Heater, Brian (2007-10-15). "Our Favorite 100 Blogs 2007 - Reviews by PC Magazine". www.pcmag.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- "2007 Round Up: Top 125 Elite Blogs". Elite Choice. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- Cavanaugh, Tim (2007-03-31). "Work them like a claw and call me Number One!". opinion.latimes.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
- weblogawards.org (2009-01-13). "2008 Weblog Award for Best Humor Blog". Retrieved 2009-01-16.